The “Global Campaign To Stop Killer Robots” kicked off in New York on Oct. 21. Nobel Peace Prize Laureate Jody Williams urged the nations of the world to act against lethal autonomous robots, declaring them “beyond the pale.” Williams is not alone; on CNN earlier in October, Peter Bergen, the author of several best-selling books about Osama Bin Laden, also argued for a convention regulating lethal robots. The International Committee for Robot Arms Control, a group of academic experts on robot technologies and international security, is on board as well. The pressure on the robots is mounting.
Underlying the debate about “killer robots” is concern that machines are not, and cannot, be legally accountable for their actions. As professor Oren Gross of the University of Miami School of Law told this year’s inaugural “We Robot” conference on robots and the law in April, domestic and international law are not well suited to dealing with robots that commit war crimes.
As technology advances, we face a very real danger that it will become increasingly difficult to hold those who wage war on our behalf accountable for what they do.
Paul Robinson, Slate. Who Will Be Accountable for Military Technology?